Meanwhile…

While the Sox engaged in such frivolous matters as playing baseball games in late October, the Yanks got down to business. Word out of Tampa is that the Yanks plan to meet face-to-face with A-Rod very soon. The new H&H Bagel management team (by the way, aren’t Hank and Hal both nicknames for Henry? One wonders if George thought of himself as Richard II when doling out the names. The Steinbrenner clan loves motivation. Did he name them both Prince Hal to see which one would become King Henry IV first?) sent a clear message to Boras and A-Rod through the Torre negotiations. That message: We are willing to alienate our fanbase, piss off the media, and generally misread human nature when talking contracts.  On the other side, Scott Boras has sent a clear message to Yanks management and the world: A-Rod literally shits gold and farts diamonds. His moods determine market swings. The resource countries will fight over in the next world war will not be oil or water. It will be the body and soul of A-Rod. The starting price is your first-born!

After some thought this weekend, I am now truly scared of this
management team and what could happen this off-season. Immediately after the news of Torre’s departure, I was
inclined to defend Hank and Hal if only because Steve Phillips was
among the people ripping them to shreds. There is a rule among humans.
Steve Phillips is always wrong. BUT…then I heard the Torre press
conference and his interview with Mike and Christopher. And then Hank lashed out at Joe, and suddenly I experienced an epiphany.

James Dolan.

Back in my high school days, I loved the Knicks in the same way I love the Yanks now. It is then remarkable that I don’t even feel like a fair-weather fan when I say today that I watch about three games a year. You see, James Dolan runs the show these days. I won’t get into the blow-by-blow history of the decline of the Knicks. Here’s the abridged version. Charles Dolan got old and couldn’t run the organization anymore. He handed the reigns over to his son, James, who is an idiotic spoiled brat. If you want to read in greater depth about just how badly the younger Dolan does things at the Garden, check out Emma Span’s piece for the New York Press.

Of course, the comparison between the Steinbrenner boys and Jimmy is superficial. Yes, they were both raised rich and probably insulated from the everyday world. James Dolan seems to have been adversely affected by such a life. He runs the Knicks very much like a spoiled brat would: with little regard for the paying customer and what others think. He throws money at problems in the hopes that they will go away. The Knicks have been an embarassment for several years now, and what’s mystifying is that James Dolan seems to think his plan is working. At the very least, he seems not to care that it’s not. One has to wonder if the Steinbrenner kids will also run their team with little regard for outside opinion. How much will they willing to surround themselves with people who disagree with them? How much will they be willing to learn from the inevitable mistakes they and any management team will make? Hank’s public response to Torre’s insult claim does not portend good things in this regard. If he felt like setting the record straight about his and Hal’s intentions, then fine. But what is discouraging is that, in his response, he chose to attack Joe. Surely, he knows that he won’t win a popularity contest against Torre? Or maybe he doesn’t, which is a bit troubling.

Meanwhile, the next test for Hank and Hal will be the negotiation with A-Rod and Boras. Based on their early work, one wonders if the meeting will go something like this:

Hank: Before we start discussing numbers, Scott, my brother and I just wanted to  let A-Rod know that we’re thinking along the lines of a pay-cut. The good news is that the contract will be filled with incentives and he’ll be able to be the highest paid player in baseball again if we win the world series in the years 2008 to 2012.

(A-Rod and Boras walk out. A gold turd remains on the seat cushion where Rodriguez was sitting.)

60 comments… add one
  • Bravo.

    YF October 22, 2007, 12:43 pm
  • “Bravo”? When I compared the Wilpon boy to Dolan YF got all indignant, I imagine if I had compared the Yankees kids in that fashion he would have murdered me.
    In any case, who really cares about the Yankees right now?
    ;-)

    SF October 22, 2007, 12:46 pm
  • Oh, and Nick, as one who loves Dolan comparisons, I sincerely offer a “bravo” – good stuff.

    SF October 22, 2007, 12:46 pm
  • Hal is short for Harold.

    Tommy YF October 22, 2007, 12:53 pm
  • “Hal is short for Harold.”
    in that case, disregard the Richard II comment.

    Nick-YF October 22, 2007, 12:54 pm
  • > James Dolan seems to think his plan is working. At the very least, he seems not to care that it’s not.
    But he’s been so great with Barbara. And when you think Doctor, you think Dr. Steven Kiley or you’re not thinking.
    Wait. What?

    attackgerbil October 22, 2007, 1:23 pm
  • Well I guess I am the only YF left on this site who doesn’t think the Torre scenario was a disaster. The offer and his subsequent departure I mean, not the poor-PR managing of it. On the ill-advised competing for public good graces by Hank…memo to Hank: Torre will remain God compared to you and any other member of management until you win a WS with someone else (at which point Torre-nostalgia will suddenly become very distant) so don’t make any negative public statements about him.
    My biggest concern with this management team does not stem from some across-the-board pay-cut-itis or from them mis-reading human nature. In fact I think it is ridiculous for people to read into the Torre deal that the Yankee ownership is suddenly chinsy (sp?). That’s not what that offer was about – it was a message that the team doesn’t want Bobby Cox II leading the team to post-season after post-season without advancing once there. By far the most lucrative base salary, which then becomes almost double that of the second highest paid manager if the team can just get out of the ALDS while managing a team full of some of the best talent in the game at multiple positions is not about saving $1 million.
    My biggest concern is that, in my view, multi-headed organizations are 9 times out of 10 undecisive, inconsistent, hard-to-read, and bi-polar in nature. It doesn’t matter if the two heads are brothers. It is NEVER in my view a good idea to have two top executives (as distinct from one CEO and other high-level advisors and executives). That’s what concerns me re: the many many major decisions they have to make in the coming month.

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 1:23 pm
  • George, Henry and Harold. All English Kings. Are those his only two sons?

    Atheose October 22, 2007, 1:26 pm
  • Good point, IH. As a Sox fan I’m happy to imagine the foreseeable struggles, but it should be interesting to watch no matter what happens.
    And as someone who has done business with his brother before… it is NOT fun. It always turns personal, leading both sides to suspect alterior motives and personal biases.

    Atheose October 22, 2007, 1:30 pm
  • Atheose: There is also son-in-law Felix Lopez. Former son-in-law Steve Sindal, who was heir apparent, got booted from family and business when he divorced George’s daughter around the time he got arrested for drunk driving.

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 1:31 pm
  • Oh, and Lopez has been in the meetings with the top brass with a mysterious non-existing portfolio…basically a hanger-on right now it seems but who knows.

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 1:33 pm
  • > it is ridiculous for people to read into the Torre deal that the Yankee ownership is suddenly chinsy (sp?)
    It was never about saving a couple mil with Torre. I think it was/is an attempt to set a tone for upcoming negotiations with other players. When Levine said “We thought we needed to go to a performance-based model,” he wasn’t talking only about Torre.
    Agree with you completely on the multi-headed monster concept.

    attackgerbil October 22, 2007, 1:34 pm
  • Yeah IH, I remember Steve getting booted when George’s Daughter divorced him. Didn’t know about Felix Lopez though. Anyone know George’s Daughters’ names?

    Atheose October 22, 2007, 1:50 pm
  • Right now it will be easy to get distracted by all the noise and chaos from the critical issues. In my view, these critical issues are as follows (and in the following order):
    1) Starting pitching: we need an ace or at least a stronger all-around starting rotation. I like Wang. But this post-season exposed what we have known all along. He simply is not sufficient. I love the youth infusion – but we can’t assume any of them will become the (rookie)-ace or that all three of them will have great years. The likelihood of these things happening anyway likely increases to the extent that we don’t place the pressure on them in ’08 that it MUST happen. One more veteran (but not over the hill!) pitcher is essential, especially if Pettitte walks and in my view the Torre departure affects Pettitte’s decision more than anyone else’s so his walking would not surprise me nearly as much as a Posada or Mo departure would.
    2) A-Rod. I have uneasy feelings about a Yankee transition that becomes years of A-Rod record races along the back-drop of teary retirement parties for the likes of Mo and Posada and no WS rings, but regardless, we need him both at 3rd and as a right-handed bat – without him we have no right-handed power in this lineup.
    3) Manager. I put manager 3rd because in my view, the performance of the team hinges much more on the two issues above than it does on whether Mattingly, LaRussa, or Girardi gets the job (I think these are the only ones they are seriously considering). I think any of the three of them would be a rather exciting and refreshing change for the team (sorry to all the LaRussa haters) and I think any of the three could do fine. I think Mattingly would be by far the most seamless based on player-familiarity and respect; knowledge of what NY is all about, inclding the media demands; demeanor (he is by far the closest to Torre’s demeanor of the three); and fan-veneration, for which he is second to none among living Yankees. And seamlessness might not be such a bad priority to shoot for when things seem so uncertain around the team.
    4) Bullpen. But this is true of pretty much every team every year so it barely merits mention.

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 2:12 pm
  • “Anyone know George’s Daughters’ names?”
    I think Elizabeth and Anne Bolyn. Just joking. They are Jennifer (formerly Jenny Swindal) and Jessica (Lopez’s wife).

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 2:17 pm
  • Hal can also be short for Henry. As in Shakespeare’s Henry IV.

    Hudson October 22, 2007, 2:33 pm
  • and, that, Hudson, was the play I meant to reference. Not sure why I put Henry V up. The Richard II to Henry IV plays are among my favorites of Shakespeare.

    Nick-YF October 22, 2007, 2:38 pm
  • The following excerpts from the script of “2001: A Space Odyssey” are much more relevant to recent events than any Shakespeare play. Simply substitute “Joe Torre” wherever the script calls for lines from “Dave Bowman”. Other minor changes indicated with [bracketed words] for deletions and ALL CAPS for additions. As you can see, not much alteration was required. And yes, I have too much time on my hands.
    SCENE: Regarding the supposed failure of the [parabolic antenna] MANAGER:
    HAL: It can only be attributable to human error.
    [Dave Bowman] JOE TORRE: Hello, HAL do you read me, HAL?
    HAL: Affirmative, [Dave] JOE, I read you.
    [Dave Bowman] JOE TORRE: Open the [pod bay] doors to a 2-year extension, HAL.
    HAL: I’m sorry [Dave] JOE, I’m afraid I can’t do that.
    [Dave Bowman] JOE TORRE: What’s the problem?
    HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
    [Dave Bowman] JOE TORRE: What are you talking about, HAL?
    HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
    [Dave Bowman] JOE TORRE: I don’t know what you’re talking about, HAL?
    HAL: I know you and [Frank] BRIAN were planning to [disconnect me] WIN ME OVER, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.
    [Dave Bowman] JOE TORRE: Where the hell’d you get that idea, HAL?
    HAL: [Dave] JOE, although you took thorough precautions [in the pod] ON THE PLANE against my hearing you, I could see your lips move…
    ________________________________________
    SCENE: HAL won’t let [Dave into the ship] JOE BACK FOR TWO YEARS:
    [Dave Bowman]: All right, HAL; I’ll go in through [the emergency airlock] MY RELATIONSHIP WITH BRIAN.
    HAL: Without your [space helmet, Dave,] STEVE SWINDAL SECURITY BLANKET JOE, you’re going to find that rather difficult.
    [Dave Bowman]: HAL, I won’t argue with you anymore! Open the doors!
    HAL: [Dave,] JOE, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
    ________________________________________
    SCENE: On [Dave’s] BRIAN CASHMAN’S return to the ship, after HAL has killed the rest of the crew (I.E. FIRED TORRE)
    HAL: Look [Dave] BRIAN, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.
    ________________________________________
    HAL (TO THE FANS OF NEW YORK): I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.
    Clearly, Stanley Kubrick saw it all coming.

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 3:02 pm
  • “Well I guess I am the only YF left on this site who doesn’t think the Torre scenario was a disaster.”
    Ehhh, no. Haven’t shed a tear yet, nor do I think the sky is falling. No need to dig to deep into this, the Yankees will be fine. As for the new regime being like James Dolan, let’s give them say more then a week to prove otherwise.

    John - YF (Trisk) October 22, 2007, 3:10 pm
  • Props on the ‘2001’ appropriation! Best. Film. Ever.
    Does this mean the next step is for Joe Torre will sneak into the Tampa complex and unhook HAL from his power supply? Who is that, Randy Levine?
    “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m half-crazy, all for the love of you.”

    FenSheaParkway October 22, 2007, 3:43 pm
  • Umm, poor editing above. Should have read:
    Does this mean the next step for Joe Torre is to sneak…

    FenSheaParkway October 22, 2007, 3:44 pm
  • “Well I guess I am the only YF left on this site who doesn’t think the Torre scenario was a disaster.”
    uh, no IH and trisk, you aren’t the only ones…if anyone had been paying attention, i’ve been fighting with sf, paul, and gerb for the past couple of days about it, though i would like to point out that IH is right-on in his assessments about the lack of effectiveness of a 2-headed monster and detailing what the real problem prioritization is for the yankees…the handling of torre’s “dismissal” was clumsy to say the least, but necessary…i think they let him down easy…even during the regular season torre’s in-game judgements, and even his desire [in my mind] came in to question…and not just by me by the way, for you less honest boggers on this site, i’m reminding you about your constant harping about his handling of the bullpen and starting pitching…i’ll say it again, the yanks don’t want to entrust their young pitching to this guy…frankly, i’m less worried about his losing in the playoffs, since that can happen to the best of teams, no, i’m more concerned about the regular season lapses…perhaps it would be unfair of me to suggest that he seems detached at times, but it’s funny that it took being “fired” by the yankees to finally awaken some passion from this guy…that more than anything told me that it was time for him to go…love him, but goodbye…

    dc October 22, 2007, 4:22 pm
  • DC and Trisk – didn’t mean to ignore your opposition to much of the rhetoric re: Torre. I’ve been absent from this site for a few days working almost around the clock, including this past weekend, and so haven’t really focused sufficiently on what fellow-yfs like you have said here to make the blanket statement to which you both reacted. I agree with both of your sentiments above – give the new ownserhip team some time before judging them and don’t let rose-tinted-glasses re: Torre blind us to his weak points.

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 4:34 pm
  • FSP: I can’t carry the 2001-Space Odyssey parallel any further since I never actually saw the movie. I want to and will, but the script above I found after thinking about “Hal” Steinbrenner and remembering seeing clips of the film with some pretty funny/creepy dialogues with that HAL. When I googled 2001 and HAL, this script was the first thing to pop up and it seemed to fit the current Yankee situation fairly well…

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 5:46 pm
  • There are three different ideas surrounding the Torre situation, which I think has run it’s course at this point. The first is the idea that it was a baseball disaster. That’s completely arguable and impossible to determine at this point. The second is that it was a PR disaster, and that seems to be inarguable as well. It was handled poorly; too many people think that it reflected terribly on the new front office for it to be seen in any other way. The third is that it will have an impact on the Yankees’ dealings with their current roster of free agents or free-agents to be, and there are extremely sound business management-related arguments about why it can only have hurt, and not helped. I’d like to have someone articulate how the Yankees’ handling of this situation has helped their position w/r/t any of their free agents or free agents-to-be.
    I still haven’t heard a convincing case as to how it has positively impacted these dealings, I have only heard people offer “it doesn’t have any impact”. It only gets worse from there.

    SF October 22, 2007, 5:49 pm
  • “Well I guess I am the only YF left on this site who doesn’t think the Torre scenario was a disaster.”
    Yes, it was a disaster in execution, regardless of whether or not the situation was an unavoidable disaster. This is different from saying that management should have re-hired Torre.
    “much of the rhetoric”
    Rhetoric? I suppose my labeling the “negotiations” as “chickenshit” qualifies as rhetoric. It certainly wasn’t graceful on my part. But let’s be direct if we are getting into the suggestion that there was magniloquence on my part or on the parts of other authors.
    Paul stated the opinion that the Yankees may very well be worse off without Torre. That’s not bombast.
    SF solicited the opinion of an MBA with a highly qualified CV as to management strategy that called the handling “not stupid, but short-sighted”, or to take the liberty to paraphrase, it was less-than-optimal. That is also not bombast.
    I absolutely intend to give time for the ownership’s desire for a new manager to come in and do his job, and hope the ownership will too. I don’t see why there is any necessity to describe the failure of the corporate executives to execute their will in a manner that was not flawed in its basic concept as something that “needs time”. I am completely set in my mind that the next manager can and may do as well or “better” than Torre with the resources and talent afforded by the Yankees organization. I absolutely desire that outcome. I would take no joy should the outcome be otherwise, and hope I would exercise restraint before joining the multitude of self-proclaimed Cassandras that will undoubtedly arise should the next manager not see the Yankees to the ’08 post.
    Cut to the quick:
    – I would like to have seen Torre rehired, but understand that ownership quite possibly should not have.
    – I would have preferred no contract be offered over the one that was
    – I hope the next manager is successful.
    As far as any “fighting”, I didn’t perceive that was occurring. Sorry if it came off that way.

    attackgerbil October 22, 2007, 6:09 pm
  • > any necessity to describe the failure
    Should have read, “any necessity to wait to describe the failure”

    attackgerbil October 22, 2007, 6:13 pm
  • SF: Left out of your three ideas is the possibility that this was actually a good baseball move…I think you have to factor that in. The Yankees essentially treated Torre the way they treated Bernie. Bernie was offended and pissed and still is judging from his refusal to throw out the first pitch in one of the ALDS games. Yet many YFs felt it was time for Bernie to move on as much as he was beloved. There is less sentiment like this for Torre because unlike a player, Torre’s aging body should have no impact on his performance, but the outcome is the same – ownership thought he was losing it or had lost a bit and so needed to be invited back on a trial-basis and Torre was offended and pissed just as Bernie had been. The way this may have helped as a baseball move is that if it was time for Torre to go, better to have him leave now then for this to drag on any longer.
    But as far as yoru main question – whether there is any conceivable way it could help in signing free agents – the least Torre-infatuated of the bunch is A-Rod. And he is the most important of the free agents right now – both in terms of impact on the team and in terms of the years that he would be extended (7-10 years) vs. Posada/Mo/Pettitte, none of whom would get more than 2 years.
    If A-Rod did resent being batted 8th and if he was not one of Torre’s fan club, he certainly would never say it in the current “Torre is God” environment but Torre’s departure would then make him feel better about returning. And while it is true that holding a grudge over being batted 8th (and being a bit outed in an SI-article mid-season) may be far-fetched, I don’t think it is at all far-fetched that A-Rod would consider this: the possibiilty that this may become more his team and less the team of the boys of ’96-on (Jeter/Mo/Posada/etc.) can only be assisted by the Yankees turning the page on the manager of those years. How will a new manager feel vis-a-vis Jeter vs. A-Rod? Pretty clearly, Torre would always have the bond with Jeter-et-al for having been with them – and won with them – for almost a full decade before A-Rod came on the scene. Not the same with a new manager. An MVP-winning A-Rod may be able to put his stamp on the team more than anyone else and even if they extend all of the other guys, come 2010, it will likely be only Jeter who is still around from those previous years while A-Rod is the senior Yankee in town. Do these things matter to A-Rod? I have no idea. But I think if they did, you would never hear A-Rod saying so for obvious reasons.
    As far as the other free agents, you could argue that Torre’s departure can only have a negative impact on them and that is probably true. But you could also argue that, other than Pettitte, sticking with the organization is more important to all of them than it is to anyone else (including A-Rod) since they have never played anywhere else and they want to end their careers where they started them. So you hurt yourself with guys who are most wedded to you and you help yourself with the guy you most need and, of the free agents, is least wedded to and affiliated with the old regime.

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 6:18 pm
  • AG: Reading your last post, I am wondering if it was me who pissed you off? If so I am sorry. I didn’t intend any slight – direct or otherwise – in my characterization of YF repsonses to the Torre thing. You and I disagreed at one point but I haven’t been around for a few days and didn’t participate in the discussions since then. Anwyay, just to say, sorry if you felt I was mis-characterizing your analysis – I’ve got as much respect for your opinons as anyone’s here, whether or not we are disagreeing.

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 6:23 pm
  • Left out of your three ideas is the possibility that this was actually a good baseball move
    No, it’s not. It is point one. It may very well be the right move, and this is something I have never questioned as a possibility.

    SF October 22, 2007, 6:30 pm
  • AG: I am wondering if it was me who pissed you off?
    IH, the only thing that truly pissed me off was the insuation by the YFO that Torre need “incentivizing” and was not worth a two-year contract. Everything else is derivative, and I completely respect your opinions. To go farther, you have made several arguments that helped me see Torre’s exit as potentially a positive thing for the Yanks.
    I am slightly annoyed by insuations that have been made that the only reason why Paul and SF were so vociferous in their respective positions was to get a rise out of YFs. However, I don’t think that you and I are that far apart in our opinions.

    attackgerbil October 22, 2007, 6:33 pm
  • But IH, the Yankees could have helped themselves with A-Rod and done much less to hurt themselves with the other guys, and that’s one big point about the way they handled this. Placating, or at least creating a softer negotiation with A-Rod didn’t obviate handling Torre in a way that might alienate the players that were close to him.
    If you accept that “no Torre means a better chance of retaining A-Rod” (that very well could be true), then how much dumber is it if their handling of this situation compromised, even minimally, their dealings with the other guys? They could have accomplished the first without nearly as much of an uproar as they did. That, to me, was unwise.

    SF October 22, 2007, 6:36 pm
  • And Gerb, I wasn’t even vociferous about anything but the strategic handling of this situation, about what happened as an interesting business management case study. I made a comment very early on speculating how the Yankees could have jettisoned Torre in a much more honest and classy fashion, and I wouldn’t have been able to question that decision ONE BIT, except subjectively as a baseball move. That, to me, would have been the best result for the team in what would have been a painful parting of ways between the team and Torre under the best of circumstances.

    SF October 22, 2007, 6:44 pm
  • AG: Got it. Thanks for the explanation.
    The incentivizing is something I completely agree with you on. It is kind of hard not to see how a veteran with a track record of success wouldn’t be offended by such a clause and even more so by the explanation of it (and by a guy, in Randy Levine, who has never been part of building a WS championship team). I also agree with you that as such, it is as much a message to everyone else as it is a Torre-specific matter.

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 6:44 pm
  • The Steinbrenner kids also have their first ready-made scapegoat sitting right by them in the form of Levine. If things turn sour down the road, they can cut the cord with Levine and almost nobody will feel very bad, considering how crassly he came off this past week.
    In this way, Hal and Hank have already fortified their positions. I am not even sure this was intentional, but they should know this now, if they are paying attention to public sentiment .

    SF October 22, 2007, 6:48 pm
  • SF: If they just wanted him out, period, then you are right in my view that it would have been infinitely better to say, “you’ve been great – the greatest – and we owe you a lot and will give you a lot in terms of lauding your contribution here; but we are turning a new page for a team that is going through major transition, and we want new management for the new page”.
    But this begs the question of whether they did indeed just want him out or if they were of two (or six?!?!) minds within their management team and split the difference by making an offer that some of them might honestly have expected/wanted him to take. I think this is more plausible than the view that they just wanted him out and this was entirely and purely just an-offer-intended-to-be-rejected.
    In a world where (SOME OF THEM) wanted to give it one more shot with him, I think this was probably the least rancorous way to do that. In a world where none of them wanted him, this was a terrible way (and frankyl not a full-proof way) to get him to leave.
    And from your business-angle on it, there are certinly some CEOs and, more relevant, Boards of Director, who would argue that a break that clearly estalishes who is boss and that the boss does not fear unpopularity when doing what he thinks is best for the organization, and that clearly establishes the FUTURE performance-based criteria upon which decisions will be made (rather than purely the past successes) is a good message to send to everyone from the seasoned execs who were in their sheltered existence under the long-in-the-tooth leadership to the newbies learning what the culture of the place is.

    IronHorse (yf) October 22, 2007, 6:55 pm
  • SF: understood; I screwed that up.
    > why Paul and SF were so vociferous in their respective positions
    Vociferous was definitely the wrong word; I didn’t mean to say you were angry. Neither you nor Paul were angry.

    attackgerbil October 22, 2007, 7:12 pm
  • As an aside, poor Karl Ravech has to co-host an edition of Baseball Tonight devoted to the “All-Kruk Team” and act like John Kruk has a shred of analytical credibility. The four minutes I watched lacked one iota of humor or logic, despite attempts at both.

    SF October 22, 2007, 8:00 pm
  • it’s a question of perspective:
    half empty: wow, they asked him to take a 33% pay cut and offset that with performance based incentives…unfair!
    half full: wow, $5m…40% more than the next highest paid guy doing the same job, and 80% more than the average compensation for all the guys doing the same job, and an opportunity to make $2-3m more if his team does something in the postseason, which has happened quite a bit during his tenure…sweet!
    gerb, i’m probably the guy you’re addressing about my professed disappointment with sf’s and paul’s piling on the yankee FO…while i’ve repeatedly said i didn’t give the FO high PR scores for handling this, i think they were in a no win situation…to some fans [and media apparently] firing torre is the equivalent of the catholic church firing mother teresa [rest her soul]…their effort was clumsy as i’ve said, but there was no elegant way…all sf and his mba [sorry guys, as someone who has been in business as long as i have, and with all due respect to the mba’s presumed pedigree, i’m not impressed by one person’s opinion, which is all it is] can give us is vague generalities about honesty, respect, sparing feelings, and the impact on other employees…i’ve also mentioned that some of the correlations between “real life” business and baseball/sports/entertainment are a bit of a stretch…that seems to be still ignored in the discussion…sf has asked for the impossible: how did torre’s “dismissal” help the yankees…duh, at this point it didn’t, but we don’t know long term…short term: PR dilemma, yep, i said that…impact on other employees?: i addressed that…all of these are points that i’ve addressed, depite sf’s protests…in the meantime, no one has responded to what i’ve suggested as possible under the surface reasons for his being “encouraged” to leave, mainly, questionable handling of pitching, especially the young ones [see joba rules] and a lack of perceived desire [resting on one’s laurels perhaps]…
    ok, i want to see if there are any takers for this little business lesson: being as specific as you can, tell me exactly how the yankees could have “fired” torre, while still keeping his dignity in tact, preserving the feelings of players and fans, and still come out smelling like a rose….and sf, this conversation isn’t done until we say it’s done…you may be getting bored with it, but it’s important to your colleagues, and you can’t pontificate without expecting some pushback…

    dc October 22, 2007, 8:29 pm
  • dc, I’ll try to take you up on this challenge. Here’s the thing. Two days ago, and I think I agree with what you’re saying. This is before the interview with Torre and the subsequent public words of Hank. Torre said in his interview with the Angry Puppy and Fatso that he assumed he was not coming back immediately after the division series loss. Hence, the rather depressing post-game and the tears of Suzyn and the coaches. He had come to peace with the inevitable, but then the Yanks gave him hope by waiting as they did and then telling him there was an offer for him. Mind you, he said he would have been fine with if they had just said outright that they didn’t want him to come back, they were moving in a different direction, etc. Now I believe him. I think there would be people in the press who obviously ould kill the Yanks for not bringing him back, but not to this level. Especially if Torre was publicly at peace with the decision. Instead you get the Torre press conference where he tears into them. This has to be the worst case scenario in terms of PR.

    Nick-YF October 22, 2007, 8:47 pm
  • tell me exactly how the yankees could have “fired” torre
    dc, I addressed this issue the day the Yankees and Torre parted ways. My fatigue comes from having to reiterate, time after time, that I have no real beef with the Yankees not wanting Torre to come back. From a baseball standpoint (though I am not sure I agree entirely with the move) I understand what transpired, and I imagine there are ways it could improve the Yankees, just as there are ways it could hurt. I honestly am not interested in that, at least not right now.
    I can’t state what interests me about this any more clearly than I did above. Continue to discuss, it’s wide open and everyone can keep the debate going as long as they want, but I have every right to not have to repeat myself ad nauseum, which is what is now happening.

    SF October 22, 2007, 8:49 pm
  • dc, here is what I wrote last week, right after Torre walked away, and in response to your exact question:
    http://yanksfansoxfan.typepad.com/ysfs/2007/10/wait-for-it-wai.html#comment-86869832

    SF October 22, 2007, 8:53 pm
  • sf, i’m still not getting the specific hypothetical scenario from you with the “right words” [no generalities] to tell the guy they don’t want him anymore, and why it’s so hard for you to acknowledge there’s no graceful way to fire “mother teresa”…i told you i’m not buying the “stupid FO” theory, exactly because it doesn’t make sense, and doesn’t acknowledge that this was a no-win situation…i can understand why sox fans want to think the steinbrats are morons and full of themselves, but that’s exactly the same thing you said about the dad even while he was winning 6 or so ws….
    “…dc, I addressed this issue the day the Yankees and Torre parted ways….”
    well, then it should be simple to point me to the specific thread and comment sf, or humor me even more and say it here…you just typed 2 whole paragraphs that don’t answer me, but i suppose they do prove my point…
    i’m trying not to sound condenscending sf, which is tough when you say things like:
    “…My fatigue comes from having to reiterate, time after time, that I have no real beef with the Yankees not wanting Torre to come back….”
    …for the record, i never said you did…
    and,
    “…I have every right to not have to repeat myself ad nauseum, which is what is now happening….”
    …but you have repeated yourself…you even took a rip on the thread you just opened: “Best in [the] Show”…

    dc October 22, 2007, 9:20 pm
  • but that’s exactly the same thing you said about the dad even while he was winning 6 or so ws….
    Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking, dc…
    Seriously, what’s your problem?

    SF October 22, 2007, 9:27 pm
  • well, then it should be simple to point me to the specific thread and comment sf, or humor me even more and say it here.
    dc, do you actually read the threads? It’s posted above, I put the link up immediately following my comment and 27 minutes before your comment. Come on…

    SF October 22, 2007, 9:28 pm
  • “…dc, do you actually read the threads?…”
    not fair sf, and you know it…come on
    “…27 minutes before your comment…”
    uh, well i was in “draft mode”, and distracted by other stuff in my house so i didn’t refresh before i posted…shame on me…but, while your words in the post you cited attempted to be conciliatory and praise-worthy, you basically said he was too old to manage the “younger players”…see what i mean, there’s no delicate way to say it…you basically proved my point…
    “…Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking, dc…
    Seriously, what’s your problem?…”
    you’re kidding right sf…i don’t have a problem unless you’re discounting the yankees winning 6 world series during stein’s reign of terror…or is failure somehow more charming as long as you’re a nice guy…i don’t get it…of course senior stein. was an a-hole, but he got results…

    dc October 22, 2007, 10:15 pm
  • you basically said he was too old to manage the “younger players”…see what i mean, there’s no delicate way to say it…you basically proved my point…
    dc, I am trying hard not to say something insulting, but you asked me how the YANKEES could have handled the Torre situation better, not what MY opinion on Torre was. This piece I put up was as if I were in the Yankees’ front office and trying to cut the cord in a “dignified” manner. Why on Earth would you then take that and act as if I unilaterally volunteered that Torre “couldn’t handle the youngsters”?
    And why would you accuse us of calling Steinbrenner et al “morons” during the World Championship run when a) this blog didn’t exist back then and b) you have nothing at all to back up a claim that SFs thought Steinbrenner was a “moron”? Find me evidence that we thought them moronic back then, please. Otherwise, cut this kind of stuff out, seriously.
    I seriously don’t understand what you are trying to do here, other than cause a needless flamewar.

    SF October 23, 2007, 6:27 am
  • please don’t feel that i’m trying to start anything with you sf, because i’m honestly not…i understand that you weren’t speaking as yourself…you’ve made it crystal clear how you feel about torre and the handling of the situation by the yankees, and i realized that your hypothetical press release was not you speaking, but a suggestion of how the yankees might have announced the news in more graceful manner than it went down…again, believe me, i get it…all i’m suggesting was that while most of the words were very positive, the following statement makes it sound like the “hypothetical yankees” think torre is too old to manage the yankees:
    “…But teams change and evolve, and this year’s influx of youth has prompted us to make a change in the dugout. …”
    …maybe it’s just me, but that statement seems to suggest that the “yankees” think torre is not the best guy to handle younger players, without saying why…in my mind that’s not a positive sentiment, especially to a 67 year old guy…it appears to tiptoe around the issue, without coming right out and saying “joe, sorry, but the game has passed you by, and we don’t trust you with the youngsters”…like i’ve said before, he should have seen the light with the joba rules…honestly, i don’t have a better answer for what should have been said…like i’ve been trying to convince anyone who will listen [and thanks for having the patience to hang in there with me while i try] the yanks were in a no-win situation basically trying to fire a popular and successful team member without making any negative public statements about him…in a way it’s too bad the contract details can be made public…that’s what really started this whole mess…they could have talked to joe privately, explained to him what they were about to do, and crafted a joint press release that both of them could live with…
    look, i’ve grown to like our little back and forths….we’ve even managed to be nice to each other more often than not, but i just wish you wouldn’t take certain comments so literally sometimes…specifically:
    i said: “…but that’s exactly the same thing you said about the dad even while he was winning 6 or so ws….” and, “…i don’t have a problem unless you’re discounting the yankees winning 6 world series during stein’s reign of terror…”
    it is painfully obvious that although i used the word “while”, i meant “though” he was winning [won] all those championships, so yes, technically you’re right, i can’t produce a yfsf blog from the mid-90’s [or the late 70’s ;) ], and i’ll even go further to say that no, probably not 1 sox fan on this site has ever used the specific word word “moron” to describe george…i want to assume that you knew what i meant and are just goofing on me to have some fun…the alternative, which is to ignore the essence of the comment and focus on wordsmithing, or grammar, or spelling is part of what can lead to the flame-wars you want to avoid…i remember such an episode awhile ago, though thankfully i don’t remember you or i participating…i think we’re better than that…
    i’m not a professional wordsmith like some of you on this site, but i have a fair understanding of all types of communication given my own background, and i have an appreciation for being able to interpret the meaning of the what the less eloquent folk like me, are trying to say…i’m sure you do too, which is why i think you’re messing with me and not really angry…you know, it’s not always the words, it’s the message and the intent that are what’s important…

    dc October 23, 2007, 8:49 am
  • “…But teams change and evolve, and this year’s influx of youth has prompted us to make a change in the dugout. …”

    dc, I was trying to imagine how the Yankees might “move on” while paying respect to their skipper. It’s an error to see this as a way of saying the “game has passed Joe by”, it was just a supposition about a way to explain a transition in the context of the current team. That paragraph could just as well have said nothing more than “after a dozen years our organization has decided to move on, we need a new direction, we love Joe and offer him our deepest gratitude, we would like him to open the new Yankee Stadium along with other Bomber legends and invite him to be part of those opening day ceremonies, as long as his schedule permits”, and that would have been fine as well.

    SF October 23, 2007, 9:06 am
  • i guess the thing we probably agree with is that they made a sensitive, difficult, and uncomfortable situation, much worse with their clumsy handling of it…it feels like bernie all over again…i like your 2nd version better, it avoids the public acknowledgement that they believe a change is needed because of the influx of youth…it would be helpful to know the details of what yankee brass discussed in reaching the decision, and then said to him privately…i could put it all into context better

    dc October 23, 2007, 10:11 am
  • “it feels like bernie all over again”
    It really doesn’t to me. They handled this much worse. In part, this is because most writers and analysts had hard data that supported the idea that Bernie had declined in performance. Coupled with the rise of the popular Melky, Bernie’s departure was easier to take.

    Nick-YF October 23, 2007, 10:19 am
  • i guess so nick, but only because the declining skills of a manager are not so measurable…not saying joe was losing his touch [i still love the guy, even though i may not be perceived that way], just trying to get into the heads of the yankee brass…it may simply be that they don’t love him anymore and decided to make a chemistry type change…and you could parallel the “rise” of the popular, mattingly to your take on melky, along with the fact that the minor league contract offered to bernie was by most accounts considered a bit of an insult, just like joe…if i remember right there was about the same outrage about the way the yanks treated one of their icons…rumor is that bernie’s still miffed, but life went on…

    dc October 23, 2007, 11:07 am
  • I don’t think the Yankees botched the Bernie situation, at all. I am not an equal opportunity Yankee-basher, and I don’t recall feeling like there was any ill treatment of Williams. If anything, Bernie was the guy who responded slowly to the Yankees’ invitation (I think he was, in fact, silent, for several days after the ST invitation), if I remember correctly, forcing the Yankees to make a decision about their direction in center field. Is my memory accurate?

    SF October 23, 2007, 11:12 am
  • Now, as the New York Yankees have opened up Spring Training for the 2007 season, they could be getting themselves into a messy situation with one of the most beloved players in team history, Bernie Williams. The 38-year old center fielder (and more recently designated hitter) is not under contract for the upcoming season, however the Yankees have extended a Spring Training invitation to Williams. He has not returned recent phone calls from a number of teammates, as well as hitting coach and former teammate Don Mattingly and manager Joe Torre. Evidently, Williams is holding out for either a guaranteed contract or the assurance of being on the opening day roster.
    Dug this up on a quick Google search, for whatever it is worth.

    SF October 23, 2007, 11:15 am
  • it is, SF. Bernie was offended that he was given a guaranteed roster spot and never responded. Actually, the voice of the team on the issue was Torre, who said he thought the offer was fair.

    Nick-YF October 23, 2007, 11:17 am
  • Not to belabor the point, but Bernie was upset at being invited back on essentially a trial basis where he’d have to prove in Spring Training that he was good enough to merit a spot on the roster. Torre was upset at being invited back on essentially a trial basis where he’d have to prove in year one that he was good enough to merit the extra salary and the additional year(s) of managing.
    There are certainly differences – most notably that age and physical decline effects player performance more than it does manager performance, but the core issue that upset each of them most was almost identical in my view. They both got a message of “your future here will be based not on what you did years ago, but on what have you done for us lately” and they both felt that what they’d done in the past should have been sufficient for more guarantees in the offers that were extended to them.

    IronHorse (yf) October 23, 2007, 11:32 am
  • IH:
    I would contend that the way the team handled the two situations articulates the discussion at hand, which for me has not been about the tactical baseball decisions. In the first case, numerous players (and the manager) reached out to the player in question in order to try to explain/entice said player back, and the team’s position was articulated clearly and quite simply, without antagonism. In the second case, particularly in the aftermath of the outcome, the team’s president went public with a generic “we are moving to an incentive-based system” claim in crass fashion, then the owner’s angry son went to the New York Post calling the ex-manager ungrateful and saying he owed everything to his Dad.
    In the first situation the front office handled a difficult situation in a way that mitigated risk to the team dynamic, in the latter case they did not do that nearly as well.

    SF October 23, 2007, 12:00 pm
  • IH, as ususal, you are the voice of reason, and got this right with your post at 11:32am…the parallels are eerily similar, but you are more eloquent at articulating them than i am…the bernie situation caused outrage on many fronts, but memories fade, just like this torre issue will be history at some point…but right now, that argument isn’t convenient for the sox fans who have declared open season on the “new” yankee management…
    in the meantime, sf who proclaimed boredom with this topic continues to hammer home his disagreement… :)

    dc October 23, 2007, 9:30 pm
  • IH: I usually don’t far myself that far away from your opinion, and I respect thought process but I’m lost on this one. Do you really think there is a significant similarity between Torres’ and Williams’ situations other than the fact that both were Yankee legacies who left in what appears to be a dissatisfied manner?
    IH and dc.. it’s only my opinion, but I can not see anything eery or similar about any imagined or realistic parallels. The only parallel I can think of is they were both popular, and (this next thought is a stretch regarding Joe) both were argued as too old for their job. Bernie was a beloved player whose every offensive and defensive metric described him to be a person that could not perform at any position as a starter, and had marginal value as a bench player. Joe Torre managed his team to within two games of the best record in the majors, made the ALDS (again) and was defeated prior to making the world series (again). I smell a trap being laid, but I’ll step. Torre and Williams situations really only bear one parallel: the fact that it’s convenient to try and tie them together right now. This is different fruit here.

    attackgerbil October 23, 2007, 10:30 pm
  • “…it’s convenient to try and tie them together right now…”
    nice spin on what i said about it being convenient not to see the similarities from a PR standpoint…like i said memories fade…

    dc October 23, 2007, 10:56 pm

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